It’s Not the Candidate, Stupid

Written by Jill Chapin. Posted in Opinion, Politics

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Published on October 02, 2012 with 3 Comments

Mitt Romney’s hand over heart for extremist Tea Party ideology may prove to be his undoing. Photo courtesy Paul Froggatt / PR Photos.

By Jill Chapin

October 3, 2012

If you have ever watched someone who has been kidnapped and forced to denounce his country before a taped recording, you would notice that he is spewing forth rhetoric that he doesn’t really believe. But in order to survive, he must utter the words his captives have put before him.

Watching Governor Romney speak to the extremist wing of his own party, it is remarkable how much he resembles a kidnapped man who must say what his captives want, at risk of being politically annihilated.

As Governor Romney’s poll numbers are slowly but inexorably inching south, news pundits on both sides of the aisle are blaming those falling numbers on a flawed candidate.

I disagree. The Mitt Romney we used to know – the pragmatic, flexible guy – has been snuffed out by the hardline extremists in his own party. His words ring false because they are not the words he would say if he were allowed to showcase the more moderate man that he is.

But then, he sold his soul at the nominating process, determined to appear as far right as the ultra conservatives demanded of him in order to become their candidate. It got him the nomination, but it is likely that his tacting so far off center will tilt the election against him. If so, the blame should be placed squarely on the shoulders of the moderate Republicans who have allowed their party to be hijacked by those whose values are simply not shared by most twenty-first century voters.

Romney has had to renounce so much of what he once championed, and thanks to his own taped words, we have proof that he is not so much a flawed candidate as he is a repackaged one. The words he says bear little resemblance to much of what he used to say. Further, he once spoke easily, as if his words and his beliefs were in sync with each other.

No more. If he seems awkward and flip-floppy, it’s because he is constantly at war with himself as to which Mitt Romney he is supposed to be – the real one or the imposter. He is clearly uncomfortable portraying himself as someone he never was, but is determined to say whatever must be said in order to win. This is why we often hear him speak candidly at noon, only to have him retract it an hour later and twist like a pretzel trying to explain what he really meant.

If he does go down in defeat, Republicans will need to go back to the drawing board and realize that they can’t have it both ways. They picked a candidate that appeared to be the least dogmatic, but then kept him on a tight leash so as not to stray from the Tea Party message.

There are likely many Democrats who could have entertained the possibility of voting for a Republican this election year, but reasonableness and moderation have been scrubbed clean from their party’s platform. So if President Obama wins, he most likely will have won no matter who the nominee would have been because any Republican would have been forced to tow the hard-right party line. Maybe someone else would have seemed more sincere. But maybe that someone else would have frightened far more of the general population to have landed an even bigger defeat than Mr. Romney may endure.

Jill Chapin

Jill Chapin has been a guest writer and columnist in several Los Angeles area papers for over fifteen years. She has written a bilingual parenting book titled, "If You Have Kids, Then Be a Parent!" and a children's book entitled, "My Magic Bubble."

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Comments for It’s Not the Candidate, Stupid are now closed.

  1. You have really missed the boat on Romney.  Romney has a Mission – to legitimize the Mormon Church.  It is the only thing that matters to him.  He will say and do anything, and put up most of his money to make it happen, as he has done for the last 50 years. It is his purpose in life.  Politics is not that important; it is the vehicle for him to serve his church. 

  2. Insightful assessment of Romney – but your very descriptions of him are what indeed makes him flawed.  Seriously flawed.  An utter lack of leadership, a man completely devoid of his own principles – or so spineless as to allow others to subsume them.  He’s going to lose – and it’s because he’s without ideas – except one: I want to be president.  It is the candidate.

  3. “There are likely many democrats who could have entertained the
    possibility of voting for a republican this election year…”

    And they will be voting for a Republican when they vote for Obama.  Mr Change We Can Believe In is a Democrat in Name Only, having expanded most of the Bush regime’s despicable policies.  And Bush was/is a neocon Republican, just like Obama.  One recent example from Mr Hopey-Changey:

    ACLU Report: Obama administration expands domestic spying

    And this one:

    ACLU trashes Obama over indefinite detention and torture act

    As for the “Democratic” voters, they will put up with anything as long as there’s a D next to the candidate’s name.  They are some of the biggest hypocrites one will find anywhere.  They protested and screamed (I did too and continue to) when Bush was doing the same things Obama has done.  But when Obama continued and expanded the same policies:  Silence (or they come up with excuses to defend him).  Loco.

    Which ever corporatist the Corporatocracy wants in the White House, will be the one chosen.